David Malament

David B. Malament (born 21 December 1947) is an American philosopher of science, specializing in the philosophy of physics.

David B. Malament
Born (1947-12-21) 21 December 1947[1]
Alma materColumbia College, Columbia University
Rockefeller University
EraContemporary philosophy
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolAnalytic philosophy
ThesisDoes the causal structure of space-time determine its geometry (1975)
Doctoral advisorDonald A. Martin
Doctoral studentsJeremy Butterfield
Main interests
Philosophy of physics


Malament attended Stuyvesant High School and received a B.A. in mathematics 1968 at Columbia College, Columbia University and Ph.D. in philosophy 1975 at Rockefeller University. After teaching for nearly a quarter-century at the University of Chicago, Malament left to become Distinguished Professor of Logic and Philosophy of Science at the University of California, Irvine, where he is now emeritus. His book Topics in the Foundations of General Relativity and Newtonian Gravitation Theory (Chicago, 2012) was awarded the 2014 Lakatos Award.

Malament's work focuses the conceptual foundations of the special and general theories of relativity.[2][3] Regarding whether simultaneity in special relativity, the Einstein synchronisation is conventional, Malament argues against conventionalism and is regarded by some as having refuted Adolf Grünbaum's argument for conventionalism.[4] Grünbaum,[5] as well as Sahotra Sarkar and John Stachel,[6] don't agree, whereas Robert Rynasiewicz sides with Malament.[7][8]

During the Vietnam War Malament was a conscientious objector to the draft, spending time in jail for refusing induction into the military.[9] He published an article on the subject of selective conscientious objection in an early issue of the journal Philosophy and Public Affairs.[10]


  1. Virtual International Authority File
  2. Malament, D. B. (1977). "The class of continuous timelike curves determines the topology of spacetime". Journal of Mathematical Physics. 18 (7): 1399. Bibcode:1977JMP....18.1399M. doi:10.1063/1.523436.
  3. D. Malament, 2005. "Classical General Relativity" (gr-qc/0506065, to appear in Handbook of the Philosophy of Physics, eds. J. Butterfield and J. Earman, Elsevier) online
  4. Malament, David (1977). "Causal Theories of Time and the Conventionality of Simultaneity". Noûs. Wiley. 11 (3): 293–300. JSTOR 2214766.
  5. A. Grünbaum. David Malament and the Conventionality of Simultaneity: A Reply, online
  6. Sarkar, Sahotra; Stachel, John (1999). "Did Malament Prove the Non-Conventionality of Simultaneity in the Special Theory of Relativity?". Philosophy of Science. The University of Chicago Press. 66 (2): 208–220. doi:10.1086/392684. JSTOR 188643.
  7. Rynasiewicz, Robert (2001). "Definition, Convention, and Simultaneity: Malament's Result and Its Alleged Refutation by Sarkar and Stachel". Philosophy of Science (Proceedings of the 2000 Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association. Part I: Contributed Papers). The University of Chicago Press. 68 (3): S345–S357. CiteSeerX JSTOR 3080957.
  8. Ben-Yami, H. (2006). "Causality and Temporal Order in Special Relativity". The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science. 57 (3): 459–479. doi:10.1093/bjps/axl019.
  9. Rabinowitz, Victor (1996). Unrepentant Leftist: A Lawyer's Memoir. University of Illinois Press. p. 310. ISBN 0-252-02253-X.
  10. Malament, David B. (1972). "Selective Conscientious Objection and the 'Gillette' Decision". Philosophy & Public Affairs. 1: 1:363–386.
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